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Statement by Ambassador Wu Haitao, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations during the General Debate on Human Rights at the Third Committee of the 71st session of the General Assembly

2016/10/31

Mr. President,

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the two UN covenants of human rights, the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development, and the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Human Rights Council. “Human rights for all” has become a common aspiration of mankind. Given the intricate interlinkages between human rights and the values, historic and cultural traditions as well as political and economic systems of various countries, human rights must be pursued in light of the specific conditions of countries and their peoples’ aspirations. Along these lines, China would like to make the following suggestions:

First, we must uphold the principle of equality. Exchanges and cooperation in the field of human rights must be strictly in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and fundamental norms governing international relations, respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of states. China is opposed to politicization and double standards on human rights issues, and rejects interference in the internal affairs of states under the pretext of human rights. Dialogue and cooperation should be conducted on the basis of equality, and mutual learning pursued in an open and inclusive manner. We should explore effective means for human rights promotion by deepening mutual trust.

Second, we must advance inclusive development. Development is the basis for the promotion and protection of human rights. Countries should be guided by the Declaration on the Right to Development, capitalize on the opportunity provided by the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and prioritize the task of assisting developing countries to eliminate hunger and poverty and realize the rights to life and to development. Developed countries are duty-bound to honor their ODA commitments in earnest.

Third, we must respect the choice made by the people. There is no universally applicable development pathway and human rights standards. Disparate country realities entail different ways and means for human rights protection. We should proceed from reality and act upon the will of the people. Respect should be given to countries’ autonomous choice of human rights protection modalities that are tailored to their national circumstances.

Fourth, we must strike a balance between the two categories of human rights. Economic, social and cultural rights, and the right to development, on the one hand, and civil and political rights, on the other, are inter-dependent and equally important. All kinds of human rights should be advanced in a balanced and coordinated fashion. Developed countries need to accord more importance to the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights, and recognize the right to development.

Mr. President,

China has found its own path of human rights development by combining the principle of universality of human rights with its national conditions, and has achieved remarkable results.

In September, the Chinese government released the 3rd National Human Rights Action Plan which sets out the following goals for human rights development for the period of 2016-2020.

First, comprehensively safeguard economic, social and cultural rights. We will work to raise people’s livelihood and quality of life across the board, improve the systems of public services and ensure equal access to such services. We will spare no effort to lift out of poverty all those who are still living under the current poverty line. We will improve our ecological environment in all its aspects, and make efforts to ensure more equitable opportunities and benefits to our people.

Second, uphold civil and political rights according to law. We will defend citizens’ personal rights and dignity, promote judicial justice, guarantee litigants the right to fair trial, and enable full realization of the rights to information, participation, expression and oversight.

Third, fully safeguard the rights of specific groups. We will expedite the development of ethnic minorities and regions inhabited by them, eliminate gender discrimination, strengthen the protection of rights and interests of minors, actively respond to ageing and improve services for persons with disabilities.

Fourth, conduct extensive human rights education. We will foster a culture featuring respect for human rights through education and nationwide law awareness campaign.

Fifth, take an active part in international human rights arena. We will fulfill our obligations under human rights treaties, participate fully in the work of the UN human rights mechanisms, engage in extensive human rights dialogue, exchanges and cooperation, and provide technical assistance to other developing countries in need.

We have developed specific tasks and plans for the implementation of the above objectives and strengthened monitoring and evaluation to ensure the successful achievement of the Action Plan. China will continue to contribute to the healthy development of the international human rights cause.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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